Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
Paul Goldschmidt’s hitting approach is simple. Execute good at-bats and good things will happen. That outlook has yielded eye-catching results throughout 2011.
Through the first half of the season, he’s batting .315 with a .630 slugging percentage. Goldschmidt’s also been a run-producing machine by crushing 25 homers and 18 doubles to go with 78 RBI.
“Just my approach at the plate has been good,” Goldschmidt said. “There were times in the past when I needed to be more patient at the plate and then times when I needed to be more aggressive. That’s improved more than anything, and that’s the thing I’ll need to keep improving on if I want to get better.”
Despite tallying 78 long balls in two-and-a-half seasons at the professional level, Goldschmidt
“(The power) comes, and I’m just trying to put together good AB’s,” Goldschmidt said. “If home runs and doubles come, then I’ll take them.”
The slugging first baseman’s improved approach and standout numbers earned him a nod to the XM All-Star Futures Game. Now in its 13th season, the Futures Games displays baseball’s up-and-coming stars on a national stage.
With an abundance of power and upside, Goldschmidt certainly fits that bill. For Goldschmidt, being selected to the USA team was an honor. But receiving the chance to play at Chase Field in Phoenix, well, that made it even more exciting.
“It’s awesome,” Goldschmidt said. “It makes it extra special for me to be here in Phoenix at Chase Field. (With) all the players that are on our team and the other team, it’s just a huge honor to get to play with and against all these guys.”
There was plenty of support in the stands for the first baseman. Goldschmidt’s wife, parents, in-laws and brother were all in attendance.
“The fans cheering when they announced my name was a great feeling,” Goldschmidt said. “I didn’t expect that, and it was great to be here in front of my home crowd.”
The home crowd saw Goldschmidt penciled into U.S. manager Mike Piazza’s starting lineup at first base. Since he was the lone first baseman on the roster, he played the entire game.
He even sealed the 6-4 USA win by corralling a sharply hit groundball for the final out.
“When I saw the roster, I saw that there were no other first basemen,” Goldschmidt said. “So, I had a feeling I’d play the whole game. I had fun, so I’m glad it worked out that way.”
A lot of things have worked out well for Goldschmidt the past few seasons. He was drafted out of Texas State in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB draft. Now, just two years later, he has taken his game to new heights.
He’s hit .320 at the Minor League level and driven in 248 runs. In 298 games, Goldschmidt has amassed 173 extra-base hits. While he undoubtedly carries a big bat, his defense is just as solid. He owns a career .993 fielding percentage.
Goldschmidt’s success has caught the attention of many, but he hopes it’s just the beginning.
“I’m trying to learn every day, and I’m trying to talk to as many people as I can to learn from every day,” Goldschmidt said.
With a yearning desire to keep improving, the future looks to be very bright for the talented slugger.